The thought of being tested for an STI/STD may sound scary and overwhelming, but it’s an important part of staying healthy!
From understanding how STI testing works to knowing when and where to access it, we’re here to answer commonly asked questions about the process.
What is an STI/STD?
“Sexually Transmitted Infection” (or disease) refers to a condition that is transmitted through sexual contact of the genitals, mouth, or anus. STIs are extremely common, infecting roughly 50% of all sexually active people before the age of 25.
The most common STIs include:
- Human papillomavirus (Genital warts)
- Genital shingles (Herpes Simplex)
- Hepatitis B
- Chancroid (Syphilis)
- Clap (Gonorrhea)
- Human immunodeficiency virus/Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS)
- Trichomoniasis (Trich)
While some STIs are curable, like syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis, others will stay with you for life and can even be deadly, like HIV/AIDS.
How does STI testing work?
STI testing likely will not be included as part of your regular checkup or medical exam, so while it may seem awkward, it’s important to be honest with your doctor about your sex life and talk with them about your options for STI testing.
Your doctor will help you determine which tests you will need by discussing your symptoms with you and asking about your sexual history. STI testing is easy, confidential, and free at your local women’s clinic, like First Care Clinic!
Forms of STI testing include…
- Urine samples
- Vaginal swabs
- Throat swabs
- Rectal swabs
- Blood test
- Cheek swab
- Physical exam
- Testing and sampling any sores you have
- Swabbing discharge or cell samples from the infected area
While some results will come back quickly, others might take days to be delivered. Once you get your results, if positive, your doctor will discuss treatment options (if available) and preventative measures with you.
Why STI Testing is Important to Your Health
Not only is STI testing simple and free at your local pregnancy clinic, but it’s also extremely important to your health. Here are the main reasons STI testing should be considered a part of your routine healthcare:
- You may be infected (and infecting others) without even knowing it.
Symptoms of many STIs can be delayed or dormant, harming your health in unseen ways and spreading to others without your knowledge. It’s your responsibility to get tested to protect others from being infected.
- The sooner you can be tested and treated, the better.
STIs can have long-term, negative health consequences and can worsen over time. The sooner you are treated, the better.
- STIs can impact your pregnancy and future children
Whether you are currently pregnant or plan on having children in the future, it’s important to understand the impact STIs can have on your pregnancy and future children. STIs can be passed from the mother to the child through pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding and result in severe pregnancy and health complications, such as premature birth, brain damage, blindness, deafness, disease, stillbirth, and more.
If you think you might be pregnant and infected with an STI, schedule an appointment at your local pregnancy clinic for free lab-quality pregnancy test and STI testing and treatment.
How to access free STI testing
Getting tested for an STI might feel embarrassing or shameful, but it’s important to remember that it’s incredibly common and a sign that you are proactive about your health and care for the health and safety of others.
Accessing free STI testing is easy through your local women’s clinic. First Care Clinic’s free services include STI testing, lab-quality pregnancy testing, ultrasound scans, educational resources, and more.
Schedule your appointment today!
Contact us to schedule an appointment.